Tanontatátie

She’s pulled the covers over herself again,
something she’s done to me for many years.
Come to expect this cold shoulder and then
it still hits me like frozen tears.

I stopped hearing her voice as I ran through life,
but maybe I just stopped listening too.
She’d always been there through good times and strife
still is, though ‘neath a sheet I can’t see through.

Now I lie with memory, and memory lied,
viewing our times together in moonbeams.
For weeks she’ll stay silent, as if she died,
not sharing her sparkle, her breath, her dreams.

But, come spring, perhaps we’ll rejoin our souls,
I know ‘neath that sheet my Mohawk still rolls.

I no longer cross the Mohawk River each day, much to my dismay. Sure I don’t miss the crazy commuting traffic. But I miss seeing the sun glisten off her hair, watching how she runs and hides behind that curve on the way to the Cohoes Falls, where she becomes one with the Hudson. She had a poetry and an art that spoke to some piece of me that itself went dormant when, each winter, she pulled her icy covers over her cold shoulders and stayed silent until the ice cracked in March and April. And the poetry came back.

Oh, and Tanontatátie is one of the names the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk people) called their river.

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